Tag Archives: writing

Author feature of me on the Kindle Boards blog today: From traditional publishing to indie

The Kindle Boards blog has a very nice profile of me today, “From traditional publishing to indie.”

Harvey from the Kindle Boards also sent me the code for a nifty badge:

Also a reminder that the Codex Writers Ebook Promo is going on today and tomorrow! Twelve books by eight great up-and-coming speculative fiction writers. Check it out!

By Popular Demand: Pantsers, Plotters, and — Puzzlers!

Over on Karen Huber’s blog a few days back, I mentioned a term I snapped up somewhere, an alternative to the two writing poles of plotters and pantsers — the puzzler. Several people in the comments were quite enthusiastic about the term, so I figure it just might deserve a blog post of it’s own, rather than a mention hidden in some comments somewhere.

I always knew I was more of a plotter than a pantser. Some of my writer friends can take a couple of prompts and immediately start writing a story. I can write stories from prompts too, many of my stories have been written that way, but I just can’t do the “immediate” part. I have to brainstorm and play with ideas first. More than anything else, I need to know the ending before I start. If I don’t, I invariably get bogged down somewhere in the middle and don’t know where to go from whatever corner I wrote myself into.

At the same time, however, plotting out every single chapter and every single plot twist before I start writing is nearly as foreign to my nature as spontaneously writing a complete story from a single first line. There are a couple of short stories I’ve written that I plotted out almost completely before writing them, most notably “Mars: A Traveler’s Guide.” That was necessary for that story, because each of the disasters had to follow the one preceding it, and the whole arc had to have a very strong, increasing sense of inevitability.

But plotting every single scene like that for a whole novel? It would drive me crazy.

My usual process starts with brainstorming basic plot, characters and setting, and doing the initial research. (I rarely write anything that doesn’t require research.) As I brainstorm, I jot down ideas for potential scenes, which I might start organizing in some kind of orderly fashion. But before I can get from the beginning to the end, one or another of these scenes I’m brainstorming grabs me, and I have to start writing it. And then another, and another. While I’m writing these random scenes, I also start getting to know my characters better, which gives me a better idea of the kinds of complications that would fit their personalities. And so I start jumping backwards and forwards and filling in the blanks, puzzling out the plot as I go.

To a plotter, the process probably sounds very random. But neither am I writing by the seat of my pants. I can’t even start without a bunch of notes on characters and scenes and plot arc and usually a fair amount of research.

I cannot claim to have come up with the term, but when I googled it to try to find the brilliant originator, all I found were other writers who also heard the term “puzzler” at some point or another and happily adopted it as their own. Me too. 🙂

Anyway, in my own puzzling way, I got another 5000 words on Chameleon in a Mirror completed, despite various other projects. (Although, to be perfectly honest, not so puzzling this time around, since it’s a rewrite from scratch.) Chameleon is now coming in at 86,000 words, of a projected 100,000. Not much more to go! Maybe with the finish line in sight, I can pick up the pace a bit and finish by the end of the month. That would be a great new goal. 🙂

Going indie and writing morale

I’ve been at this writing business for a long time now — and if you count all the years I was writing without any success getting published even longer. I sold my first short story to Asimov’s in 2000, and it came out 2001. And that, of course, was far from the first work of fiction I wrote. I think I definitely put in my proverbial 1,000,000 word apprenticeship.

Despite the fact that a big part of my self-definition is that I’m a writer, some developments in the last couple of years were making the writing harder and harder for me, to the point where on occasion I was even considering whether I might not be happier just quitting. I had a fair amount of success with traditional publishing, with one novel and several dozen short stories published, but frustration was outweighing success.

That was when I decided to go it alone with my Arthurian novel, Yseult. And what a liberating journey it has been.

Those who read this blog on a more regular basis know that I like to complain about how much time you have to spend on marketing as an indie. For me, that is the big disadvantage. But even with the time spent marketing, I’m producing more now than before I started self-publishing. I think it’s because I’m more focused, I know there’s a potential audience out there that I can reach, I’m not dependent on agents or editors (who know that Arthurian fiction doesn’t sell, that a novel about Aphra Behn should be literary, not time travel, etc. etc.). I can take a shot on my passions, things that don’t fit into the market as the experts see it, I can reach readers who actually want more and don’t just reject me out of hand. To quote a couple of recent reviews I’ve gotten for Shadow of Stone and Looking Through Lace:

I have to give this novella 5 stars, although I’d like to rate it lower because I want a full-length book! Alas, it was clear when I bought it that it was a novella, even though I’d really like to read more about this world! (Did I make it clear I’d like to read more?!)

As a linguist myself, I was intrigued from the start of the synopsis! Nestvold’s storytelling and use of linguistic terms (and anecdotes)were not disappointing. 🙂 Her story was well-written and left me wanting to hear more tales about Dr. Toni Donato and her work!

… the twists and turns of the plot kept me wanting more. I was truly captivated with these stories, and am hoping she’ll continue the series following the lives of not only Yseult, Cador and their companions, but that of Kustennin and Riona as well.

What writer wouldn’t be inspired by feedback like that? It gives me so much more enthusiasm for the projects at hand, makes me impatient to finish them so that I can get on to the next one. Yes, I am once again behind in my own goals for myself. I had hoped to have a new version of Chameleon in a Mirror completed by the end of the month; instead, I am only 28,000 words into the novel, which means I still have two-thirds to go. But I’m pursuing the project with more joy than I have brought to my writing life in years. I’m brainstorming new ideas and making lists of novels and stories I need to write, and none of it feels like a chore. My dear fellow writers at the last Villa Diodati workshop tried to persuade me that I should market Chameleon in a Mirror to traditional publishers — I just said no. Never say never, but for the moment at least I am not going there anymore.

It’s been a good round of words. 🙂

A reminder: As part of the Summer Solstice Free Fantasy, I have FOUR books free today:

Yseult: A Tale of Love in the Age of King Arthur

Shadow of Stone (The Pendragon Chronicles, Book 2)

Dragon Time and Other Stories

Never Ever After: Three Short Stories

They still aren’t showing up free for me on Amazon.com (they are on .de and .uk), but I assume in the course of the day it will still happen. If you don’t have the books yet, please, be my guest!

Thoughts on Rereading a Tale of High Passion

Ah, my heart! my heart! It is weary without her.
I would that I were as the winds which play about her!
For here I waste and I sicken, and nought is fair
To mine eyes: nor night with stars in her clouded hair,
Nor all the whitening ways of the stormy seas,
Nor the leafy twilight trembling under the trees:
But mine hands crave for her touch, mine eyes for her sight,
My mouth for her mouth, mine eyes for her foot-falls light,
And my soul would drink of her soul through every sense,
Thirsting for her, as earth, in the heat intense,
For the soft song and the gentle dropping of rain.
But I sit here as a smouldering fire of pain,
Lonely, here! And the wind in the forest grieves,
And I hear my sorrow sobbing among the leaves.

Frederic Manning, “Tristram”

That’s the quote prefacing the current chapter of Yseult that I’m editing, and I think in many ways it sums up why I have a penchant for love stories that end tragically. I mean, when it comes down to it, there’s nothing like the longing of star-crossed lovers, the intensity, the exponential emotional arithmetics. Of course, no one actually wants to live like that long term, which is why stories such as Tristan and Isolde or Romeo and Juliet have to end tragically. If the lovers somehow managed to trick fate and come up with a happy ending despite all odds, then they would have to deal with such mundane things as taking out the garbage, or less mundane conflicts like seven year itches or how to deal with all the forces they tricked in the first place. Either way, it would be a distraction from high passion. Constant high passion can only exist in an artificial situation that prevents the onset of habit, whether that habit turns into comfortable companionship or boredom. That is one of the themes of Yseult, one of the reasons I wrote the novel in the first place, to examine high passion and why it fascinates me so much (and not only me).

But despite my weakness for tragic love stories, in writing Yseult I wanted to make the cost of high passion one of my themes, wanted to provide an alternative. One of the subplots concerns a love that grows slowly and cautiously, without the drama of a love story that will be told over and over again for more than a thousand years.

I submit: quiet love is the kind of love most of us strive for, even while we are fascinated by crash-and-burn stories a la Tristan and Isolde, yearning for such overwhelming passion.

I don’t know if I got the balance right in Yseult, but at least I have had several readers who understood what I was trying to achieve with the secondary love story. The contrast is integral to my retelling of the ancient tale, older than Lancelot and Guinevere, Romeo and Juliet. It’s the reason I couldn’t change the outcome and give the story a happy ending, like First Knight did for Lancelot and Guinevere. As fascinating as we find high passion, it is at odds with comfort, and it demands a very high price in nerves and pain. I admit, part of me was a little tempted to give Yseult and Drystan a happy ending, but only a little bit. I was half in love with Drystan myself. In a lot of ways he’s closer to me than Yseult — I even gave him my birthday. But for me, a happy ending would have been a cop out. And the fact that it would have been a betrayal of the many versions of the tale that came before me is only part of it. I’m sure I don’t understand all of my motives in telling the story the way I did, and those I do understand are definitely contradictory, but perhaps they come down to this: addictive love is exhilarating, but long term, it’s exhausting and nerve-wracking and it can’t last. High passion might be able to mutate into something more comfortable, but that is not the story that has been told over and over again for centuries.

I’m not as far in re-reading and doing additional editing on Yseult as I wanted to be, but I’m also still waiting for the first suggestions from the cover artist. Maybe we’re both being waylaid by Christmas — which is not necessarily such a bad thing, after all. Christmas is fun, especially when it involves children and grandchildren. Which have little to do with grand passion but a lot to do with living an exceedingly content life.

I wish all who read this a very happy holiday season, largely devoid of high passion — except, of course, for the most pleasant kind.

Villa Diodati Workshop Report

I meant to write this report some time ago, but life around were was crazy after I got back from the workshop and a short trip to Alsace.

Maison Pfister in Colmar

A bit of background first: the Villa Diodati Workshop is our “local” speculative fiction workshop — local here meaning Europe. What draws us together is that we all write science fiction and fantasy in English, whether that is our native language or not. The original idea was that those of us writing in English in the midst of a culture speaking another language don’t have real access to face-to-face workshops. But we are so awesome that we’ve also attracted a couple of people who live in Britain and don’t have that excuse to hang out with us twice a year for a long weekend of writing and critiquing.

At the end of November, we met for the second time at Hanebecks Hof in the Black Forest, a big two story vacation rental with room for up to 11 people — and lots of space to hide out and write. The first evening, we had a discussion of ebooks and writing (which reminds me, I still haven’t shared the links to my John Locke posts with the other participants, which I hereby do: 1 2).

Hanebecks Hof

At the Villa Diodati workshop, we try to balance critiquing with exercises, writing discussions and brainstorming. Each participant brings only one story or novel chapter / synopsis, which leaves us time for other activities. We have critique sessions in the morning and writing-related stuff in the afternoon. This year, besides the discussion of ebooks and self-publishing, here are some of the things we did:
– we had a brainstorming session where we took turns picking the group mind regarding a story problem or something new we want to work on. I ran my unfinished convicts on Callisto story past the brilliant bunch and got a lot of great ideas as to how I might be able to create the necessary complications.
– we traded story prompts and did a word sprint, starting a new story based on the things we pulled from the bowl. I started a silly piece about the Prince of Redondo Beach who has the hots for the Wizard of California and doesn’t even notice that there’s a revolution going on …

Jeff and John working hard at VD9

And of course, as usual, we ate very well, much too well, with an overabundance of French deli meats and cheeses, bought by John on the way to the workshop. We trade off cooking each night, and this year we had boudin noir, Texas style bbq chicken by yours truly, pork tenderloin with mushroom sauce and spätzle — and so many spätzle left over, that I made Käsespätzle (the German version of macaroni and cheese) the next day from the leftovers and some of the tons of cheese that had been dragged across the border from France.

Once again, a very fun and productive workshop. Thanks to all the Villa Diodatians!

Participants of VD9

Since things have calmed down here after Villa Diodati and Stuttgart Turkey Day, I’ve been concentrating on getting Yseult ready to bring out as an ebook, so no new fiction for now. I’m hoping to have Yseult up before Christmas, and that is my single most pressing writing goal at the moment.

How Much Blog is Enough Blog? Or; how I doubled my fiction output in just one month!

I’ve been doing some reassessing (as well as a lot of fiction writing!), and both are part of the reason I haven’t been posting to my blog much lately. I’ve met tons of wonderful people through the blogosphere, but at some point I realized I was spending way too much time on this stuff, to the detriment of my fiction production. While I was reassessing, I read couple of posts that really struck a chord with me. In “Blog ennui and platforms built of bodies” Susan Bischoff summed up pretty much exactly the way I felt:

We’re all under so much pressure to publish content, any content, just to get it out there, on a regular basis, regardless of its quality. Okay, most of that’s pressure we put on ourselves because that’s what we do. But still, we’re not the freakin’ Borg and that idea’s coming from somewhere.

We’re going to commit to blogging three times a week. Doesn’t matter what we blog about. Doesn’t matter what our motivation is for typing the words on the screen, the important thing is just to get it out there and then go promote it. Do I know in my gut that this is a good post, that I wrote it for purpose, that I had something to offer? Screw that, doesn’t matter, promote that bitch and let’s get some numbers on that stats page. Because if we don’t, someone else will and we’ll be lost in the sea of social media noise. If we don’t stop moving we’ll die, DIE!!! and then this platform we’ve been struggling to build, body by b–er, I mean, plank by posty goodness plank of brilliance will be CRUSHED!

I had started feeling like I didn’t really have anything to say, but that’s no excuse: there’s this meme out there telling us if we don’t post at least twice a week, we’re committing social media suicide. I was spending so much time on writing posts and visiting other people’s sites and commenting and trying to be a good community member, it was getting hard to find the time to actually write fiction, which is what I supposedly do (when I’m not translating interfaces and computer manuals). Another thing was, after I started blogging twice a week, I didn’t see any real increase in ebook sales. Yes, my Twitter followers increased dramatically, from next-to-nothing to a little more than next-to-nothing. (For some reason, my number of Facebook “friends” is exploding, even though I don’t use Facebook much at all anymore. Go figure.) But sales? They just trickled along in the same leisurely way they had before.

So I stopped. I dived off the bridge and committed social media suicide. In the last month, I’ve only posted to my blog twice. And I’ve gotten about 36,000 words of fiction written. In the four weeks before that, my output was less than 16,000. Part of the increase in word count is of course due to the fun and games of Nanowrimo, but not all. I’m working on putting Writing First, and while I still get caught in the time trap of reading email when I should be writing, I tend to start writing earlier than I used to, as long as I remind myself of my new mantra: without fiction, platform is schmatform. And – SURPRISE! – when I spend more time on writing fiction, I get more words of fiction created.

A couple of other posts I would recommend in this context:

The Red Pen of Doom, “The Twitter, it is NOT for selling books”

Kait Nolan, “Social Media Ennui”

Kristen Lamb, “Beware the Social Media Snuggie–One Size Does NOT Fit All”

In other news, a Hungarian website put up an article talking about me and my novellas “Looking Through Lace” and “Beyond the Waters of the World,” as well as several other writers with free fiction up on the Internet. I can’t read it, but I still think it’s cool! One of these days, I’ll chase the thing through an online translator and get a chuckle at the results.

Another nice bit of recognition came from the new site for St Michael’s church in Harbledown near Cantebury, the church where the most likely candidate for the real Aphra Behn was baptized. They asked permission to link to my Aphra Behn page, and naturally I told them I would be honored.

I’m off to the next Villa Diodati workshop this week, so my fiction production will most likely drop off again, since I have to read a bunch of stories and write critiques. But at least after that I will have something to blog about — a workshop report. 🙂

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Monkey

That’s the name of a story that just sold to Daily Science Fiction — one of the pieces I mentioned submitting in my last blog entry. Which means less than a week between submission and acceptance. Woo hoo!

Apparently it’s a good thing that I added “getting my stories out on the market again” to my list of goals. I haven’t sold a short story for months now, but neither have I been writing or submitting much short fiction, as evidenced by the backlog accumulated that I mentioned in my last post. After selling my novel Yseult / Flamme und Harfe to Random House Germany, I thought my future was in novels, so that’s what I concentrated on, neglecting stories.


My German publisher rejected the novel they requested I write on spec. I won’t go into all the mistakes I made at that point in my writing career; but one of the things I realized is that I cannot allow myself to concentrate so much on a novel project to the extent that I totally neglect short fiction. Stories don’t make a lot of money, but they can be written in a week or three (depending on the length and the amount of research involved); they don’t require the same investment in time and emotional commitment; they can be sent out and accepted (or rejected) in a week.

Besides, my batting average with short fiction is way higher than with novels. I’ve only sold one novel of the four I’ve sent out onto the market. (We will not go into the novels I never finished … also a lot more than the short stories I never finished …) Short fiction: my database tells me I’ve sold 46 short stories, and I have a total of 24 either “ready to send” or “on the market” (not including those I don’t consider ready for submission). I have five stories marked as “trunked” in my database.

Another thing to consider, however, is that in the brave new world of ebooks, I might be able to do something with those rejected novels, whereas short stories, both singles and collections, are notoriously poor sellers in ebook format.

Nonetheless, there is something in me that enjoys those story acceptances so much that I have to figure out a way to balance work on novels and short fiction. I have to learn to allow myself to take breaks from whichever project seems most pressing — or relearn. That used to be the way I worked when writing a novel. If I was stuck or bored, I would take a break to write short fiction. But then the pressure started feeling like what I have when I’m working on a translation project. I couldn’t take breaks for any extraneous monkeys.

But now I’m allowing the monkeys to come back. I hope.

Progress Report

I fell a bit behind on my word count goals this week, for a number of reasons. Besides an autumn cold and some extra hours emergency babysitting of my granddaughter, the main thing that slowed down new word count was several collaborative stories that all arrived at about the same time and that required revision and response. Since one of them is a requested rewrite, I’m not complaining — a prospect of publication is always good!

Goal check:

Write 5000 words a weekOnly a little over half: 3000 words this week.
Get three short stories revised and out on the marketLots of progress on this one. I got one new story submitted, and sent out three submissions of stories that either had recently been rejected or were languishing on my hard drive.
Update my web page – No progress 😦
Put two new collections of previously published stories up on Smashwords and Amazon – No progress 😦
Get my novel Yseult up on Smashwords and Amazon before Christmas – No progress 😦
Fix file for Looking Through Lace on Smashwords – No progress 😦
Upload Looking Through Lace to Amazon again – No progress 😦

While editing my story database for the collabs, I noticed that I have a whopping twenty-two stories that are not out on the market. Five of those are recently written and still need revision and probably workshopping before I can send them out. All of the rest are just sitting there because I’ve gotten so bad about submitting my fiction. So I need to add another goal to the list:

Get my “ready to send” stories down to under ten

This might involve trunking some of the stories that have made the rounds, which is why I’m not expressing it as a submission goal. What I really need is to get back to work on marketing and get my database up to date.

I’m not editing my word count goal down yet. I’m hoping this week was an aberration and I can soon get back up to 5000 words a week.

Determining my Target Audience (John Locke and the Rest of Us, Part 2)

You can read my initial thoughts on John Locke’s e-marketing ideas here. In this post, I’m going to attempt to define a target audience in the way Locke suggests in his book, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in in 5 Months!

I don’t write in any one, single genre, even though most of my work falls under the general genre umbrella of “sff” — science fiction and fantasy. But among my published works there’s space opera, near future, magic realism, epic fantasy, dragons, witches, and Mars. So it would be pretty hard to define a target audience for my fiction as a whole — it would probably end up so general as to be useless.

Instead, I’m going to try to figure out the target audience for Yseult and maybe eventually I can do something with that.

Ysuelt is a Big Fat Fantasy of almost 200,000 words. The German translation came in at about 700 pages. While Yseult is a retelling of the Tristan and Isolde legend, it is not as medieval in feel as a lot of Arthurian novels. By that I mean that it isn’t set in an era of jousting and tournaments and chivalry. Yseult is set in fifth century Ireland and Britain, a brutal, transitional age. I did a lot of research on Sub-Roman and Post-Roman Britain, as well as early Christian Ireland, trying to create a gritty, historical atmosphere, despite the fantasy elements. At the same time, I read lots of medieval Arthurian works, in particular Welsh. I liked the old Welsh names best, and used quite a few rather than the more familiar French versions, e.g. Bedwyr instead of Bedivere, Cai instead of Kay, Myrddin instead of Merlin. For the same reason, I didn’t include Lancelot (an invention of medieval French writers). While the main plot line is the tragic love story of Yseult and Drystan, I didn’t skimp on the larger political picture, the war of the British kingdoms against the encroaching Saxons, and there are a number of detailed battle scenes.

Next step: what kind of readers would like to read a book like that?

First off, my ideal readers like both fantasy and historical detail. They get a kick out of learning something new, even when they’re reading fiction. At the same time, they want to be entertained; they like grand passion and epic conflicts. They probably have a weakness for tragedy, as long as the ending is satisfying. A familiarity with Arthurian legends is a plus, combined with an openness to seeing old stories told in new ways. They like a good battle scene as much as a good sex scene. They don’t mind their heroes getting dirty, and they don’t like it when magic solves too many problems. They’re fans of High Mud Fantasy.

Ok, that wasn’t quite as hard as I expected. But even if I have a better image now of my ideal readers, the next step according to John Locke is writing blog posts aimed at precisely those readers, posts that will draw them to my page and make them click on the links to where they can buy my books (see the images to the right *g*). Those targeted blog entries are the real challenge. How am I supposed to come up with posts that will attract thousands of readers of High Mud Fantasy and inspire them to buy my stuff?

Locke emphasizes how long he needs to compose those critical posts, but at the same time, he makes it sound so easy. You figure out what your ideal readers will be attracted to, and *whamo* they’re there and buying your books! You do, however, have to use Twitter to promote your blog until your posts go viral. Repeatedly:

When I’ve posted a new blog, I write a couple of tweets to my 20,000 followers and hope some will vist my blog and re-tweet the link. I also send group tweets to Twitter pals, maybe four to six pals per message, and maybe six to ten tweets altogether …. I tweet to different friends each time so I’m not hassling the same people every month. When they re-tweet my news, I let a few hours go by, or maybe a day, and then re-tweet their “re-tweets,” spreading the message out so I’m hitting different times of the day and night. This keeps the buzz going.

From John Locke, How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in in 5 Months!

Well, aside from the fact that he leaves out the instructions on how to get 20,000 followers in the first place, if I can ever come up with a post that will bring my ideal writers flocking to my blog, I’ll be sure to write it. But promote it regularly on Twitter? Don’t people get irritated with tweets like that?

There are a lot of good observations in this book, however, probably first and foremost being that too many writers blog about writing. Which means the only readers they are attracting are other writers, not the folks who might eventually buy their books. Definitely something to think about there. I don’t have to worry about all this marketing too much yet, though. The first thing is to make a cover for Yseult and get the novel up on Amazon and Smashwords. Then I can start testing sales strategies.

Otherwise, I’m still doing pretty well on my goals. I added 700 words to a story that was requested for a rewrite, and progress on the medieval level of Fragments of Legend is steady. Since I set many of my goals up as weekly goals, I’ll post a summary at the end of the week.

John Locke and the Rest of Us: Defining a Target Audience and Getting Them to Come to You, Part I

While we were cruising the fjords of Norway, one of the books I read on my Kindle was John Locke’s How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Since one of my current goals is to get my novel Yseult up as an ebook before Christmas, I figure I can use all the advice I can get. At least I know that Yseult can cut it as a novel — it’s been through the editorial process and has sold over 10,000 copies in German translation. (I don’t have any numbers for the Italian and Dutch.) For Yseult, I don’t have to worry about things like hiring an editor for the monster historical fantasy and wondering if I will ever earn out the expenses.

What I do have to worry about is figuring out how to get Yseult to the audiences who would be interested in reading it. Which is what Locke’s book is all about. The problem is, he’s writing a book for authors writing a series character who can put out short novels similar in tone and plot on a regular basis (that’s where the million comes in — lots of publications selling to a regular fan base). Ok, so that doesn’t apply to Yseult, since it’s a retelling of the legend of Tristan and Isolde, but one that starts with the story of the female character rather than the male. But as most people know, the story ends tragically — no series there. It’s a Big Fat Fantasy of almost 200,000 words, and I have to admit, I really don’t want to give it away for 99 cents.

So is there anything I can learn from Locke?

He says the first thing a writer has to do to is define her target audience and then write posts that will draw potential readers to her blog — and the links to her ebooks on her sidebar. The mistake of most authors is that they write their blogs for other writers. Fair enough, guilty as charged. I have the sidebar with links to my books, but my posts are mostly about writing.

Then let’s tackle the next step, defining my target audience. As far as Yseult is concerned, I have a bit of an advantage here, since I have lots of reader feedback to help me try to figure it out. I know who my ideal reader is — her name is Valentina Coluccelli, and she wrote a review of Yseult when it came out in Italian. I hate reading reviews, but with this one, every step of the way, I was thinking – omigod, she got it! she knew exactly what I wanted to do, why I fiddled with the sources here and chose that version there! Finally, someone understands me! She even got some of the details that I thought of Easter eggs. 🙂

But how do I extrapolate from my ideal reader Valentina to define my target audience? That’s a tough one, and I fear it means I am destined not to sell a million ebooks in five months, sigh. My audience for Yseult is very specific, and while I have a follow-up novel also set in Sub-Roman Britain, the other novels I want to bring out as ebooks are all over the place as far as genre and target readers are concerned. About the only thing they have in common is that they share a certain feminist sensibility in the subject matter in that they touch on ways women have been disadvantaged over the centuries or (for my SF) try to illuminate “common sense” ways of thinking are biased against women.

And here I am, in the middle of the night, with way more words than I intended and no conclusion. So I think for the first time in my blog career, I’m going to have to make this a two-parter.

Otherwise on the writing front I’ve been fairly successful in repressing my frittering gene and have reached my word count goals. Haven’t started tackling any of the other goals yet, however. But at least I’m thinking about my target audience. 🙂